Half of the over 4,000 lakes which nurture the source of China's second-longest river -- the Yellow River -- in Qinghai Province are disappearing, bringing a drinking water shortage to local people.
In Madoi, the county closest to the river source in this northwest China province, grassland is shrinking fast, with dried- up river beds emerging everywhere. However, Madoi used to be called a ``county of thousands of lakes."
Partly due to the global warming phenomenon, the river has suffered a shrinking water supply for several consecutive years.
The disappearance of half of the ground rivers and lakes in Madoi has already severely impacted the local grazing and animal husbandry occupations.
The drought this summer dried up over 120 drinking water sources in Madoi. So far, 30 percent of the county's grassland coverage has vanished. Only half of the summer and autumn ranges can be used for herding, which has left some 380,000 head of livestock short of feedstuff.
Through this coming winter, 70 percent of some 10,000 herdsmen in Madoi will have to rent rangelands elsewhere to feed their flocks and herds.
(Xinhua News Agency 10/07/2001)